Plan of the Meroth synagogue. Two rows of five columns each, aligned north-south, divided the prayer hall into a central nave and two side aisles. When the synagogue was first built in the late fourth or early fifth century A.D., a balcony projected above each side aisle, and benches along the long walls of the prayer hall provided seating for worshippers (see reconstruction drawing).
To reach the balconies, worshippers would climb a staircase on the western outside wall of the synagogue (seen in the aerial photograph opposite the oval heap of stone remains; also see close-up). The reconstruction drawing shows four of the steps in this staircase.